Fabrication and characterization of biomimetic ceramic/polymer composite materials for dental restoration

Morena Petrini*, Maurizio Ferrante, Bo Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Conventional dental composites with randomly dispersed inorganic particles within a polymer matrix fail to recapitulate the aligned and anisotropic structure of the dentin and enamel. The aim of the study was to produce a biomimetic composite consisting of a ceramic preform with graded and continuously aligned open pores, infiltrated with epoxy resin.

Methods. The freeze casting technique was used to obtain the hierarchically structured architecture of the ceramic preforms. Optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and differential thermal analysis and thermogravimetry (TG-DTA) were used to characterize the samples. Three point bending test and compression test were also performed.

Results. All analysis confirmed that the biomimetic composite was characterized by a multi-level hierarchical structure along the freezing direction. In the bottom layers close to the cooling plate (up to 2 mm thick), a randomly packed ceramic with closed pores were formed, which resulted in incomplete infiltration with resin and resultant poor mechanical proprieties of the composite. Above 2 mm, all ceramic samples showed an aligned structure with an increasing lamellae spacing (wavelength) and a decreasing wall thickness. Mechanical tests showed that the properties of the composites made from ceramic preforms above 2 mm from cooling plate are similar to those of the dentin.

Significance. The fabrication processing reported in this work offers a viable route for the fabrication of biomimetic composites, which could be potentially used in a range of dental restorations to compete with the current dental composites and ceramics. (C) 2012 Academy of Dental Materials. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalDental Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Biomimetic composite
  • Freeze casting
  • Ceramic preform
  • Indirect restoration
  • Polymer infiltration


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